March 16, 2010
Senior guard James Powell was named the UCSBgauchos.com Athlete of the Week for his performance in the 2010 Big West Tournament, where he averaged 15.5 points per game and hit all four of his free throws with under 27 seconds left in the championship game versus Long Beach State, helping the Gauchos clinch their first trip to the 'Big Dance' since 2002.
On Friday, Powell scored 16 of his game-high 22 points in the second half, including 10 in a row during a pivotal stretch, as UC Santa Barbara defeated UC Davis in the semifinals of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim, 76-63. Powell added three three-pointers during the contest, giving him 217 for his career, tying Gaucho great Mark Hull for UCSB's all-time record.
The next night, Powell broke the school record for three point baskets with 12:37 left in the second half before hitting four clutch free throws down the stretch to ice the Gauchos' 69-64 victory over LBSU. Leading 63-62 with 28 seconds remaining, Powell was intentionally fouled and made his first two with 27 seconds left. After UCSB forced Long Beach into a turnover, Powell was fouled again with just under seven seconds to play and he made two more, giving the Gauchos a five-point lead with a handful of seconds left to play.
This season, Powell is averaging 9.4 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game while shooting 42 percent from the field and 41.1 percent from beyond the three-point line.
Powell and the Gauchos, the 15th seed in the Midwest Regional of the 2010 NCAA Basketball Championship, will play No. 2 seeded Ohio State on Friday, Mar. 19 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisc. Ohio State, which defeated Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament championship game on Sunday, is 27-7 on the season. The winner of the game between the Gauchos and Buckeyes will play the winner of a first round game between 10th-seeded Georgia Tech and 7th-seeded Oklahoma State.